Xcel and NCAR partner to provide better renewable energy forecasts

By: Steve Thursday May 9, 2013 0 comments Tags: Ben Fowke, Boulder, NCAR, Thomas Bogdan, Xcel Energy

NCAR logoMINNEAPOLIS/BOULDER - Xcel Energy and the Boulder-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) announced they will partner to provide sophisticated renewable energy forecasting.

The agreement is an extension of an existing relationship between the two that has saved millions of dollars for Xcel's 3.4 million electricity customers in eight states.

In the next two years, NCAR scientists and engineers will develop custom forecasting systems to enable Xcel control centers in Denver, Golden, Minneapolis and Amarillo, Tex. to anticipate sudden changes in wind, shut down wind turbines ahead of potentially damaging icing events and even predict the amount of energy generated by private solar panels, Xcel said.

"Xcel Energy has been the nation's largest utility provider of wind energy for the last nine years, and as our renewable energy portfolio continues to grow, accurate forecasts become increasingly important," said Ben Fowke, Xcel's chairman, president and CEO.

The new project is the latest venture by NCAR in renewable energy, which includes a three-year, nationwide project to create 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the sun for solar energy power plants.

"By creating more detailed and accurate forecasts of wind and sun, we can produce a major return on investment for utilities," said Thomas Bogdan, president of the University Corp. for Atmospheric Research, which manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation.

"This type of cutting-edge research helps make renewable energy more cost-competitive."

For more information, visit www.xcelenergy.com.

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